The Cliffs of Insanity: Arrow

Arrow season 1, promotional art via the CW
Arrow season 1, promotional art via the CW

In this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity, I’m exploring why I loved Arrow, Season 1, the serious problems with this season’s The Big Bang Theory, and I have a quick note about the new video game for the 3DS that has my twins in fan-squee mode.

Ah, Arrow. I’m not going to claim it’s a great show. But it has just enough of what I love that I’m hooked, especially after that heart-wrenching finale. Here’s why:

  • Oliver Queen wants redemption for his father’s sins yet he has no real idea of what that means for most of the season. He’s struggling with morality, the law, and what it means to be a vigilante dedicated to this kind of vengeance.
  • Felicity Smoak. She’s not Oracle. But she could be. According to an interview,  she was supposed to be a one-off character but the producers were smart and increased her role throughout the season, until she became a regular part of the team. She’s a bit socially awkward, sweet, and smarter than just about anyone on the show. Every scene she’s in is fun. Kudos to Emily Bett Rickards. Now if we could just get Laurel into the fishnets for a team-up….
  • The Queen Family. Moira Queen is an original character for the television show, as is Thea, Oliver’s teenage sister. More than anything else, this change had me scratching my head. But it’s worked perfectly as Ollie tries to reconnect with his family while keeping them at arm’s length because of his quest to get those who failed the city. Susanna Thompson has been incredible as Moira, especially in the finale. Thea hasn’t yet been given enough to do except misbehave but there’s potential. And stepfather Walter, initially somewhat sinister, turned out to be a decent, honorable man and a better father figure to the Queen than I ever expected.
  • John Diggle (David Ramsey). Obviously named for Andy Diggle, who wrote the 2007 Green Arrow: Year One comic story for DC, Diggle also an original creation for the show. He serves the purposes of a sidekick and sometimes, early in the season, he was too much of an assistant rather than a player in his own right. Not anymore, especially when her serves as Ollie’s conscience.
  • Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen. I know, I didn’t put him at the top because I’m more interested in what’s going around Ollie than the man himself much of the time but that doesn’t detract from the fact Amell (and his terrific physical work) carry the show.
  • Comic book Easter eggs. Ted Kord. Kate Spencer. The corner of O’Neil and Adams. Bludhaven. Dinah Laurel Lance. I love them all.
  • Fan friendly casting, including John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn, Alex Kingston as Momma Lance. (Rats, no scene together with a nod to Doctor Who fans but maybe someday.) Even Paul Blackthorne (Harry Dresden) as Detective Quentin Lance is a nice touch. 

There have been problems. The plots often have huge holes in them, I wish Huntress didn’t devolve into a cop killer, some of the acting (you, Katie Cassidy) isn’t up to par and the deaths/not deaths have been very comic book-y. But kudos to the creators, Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg, for delivering a very entertaining show. I had a tear in my eye during the unexpected death in the finale.

Really looking forward to season 2.

And speaking of next seasons….

If You’re Going to Reference Buffy, Make It a Real Episode! 

It’s not all good in TV land for geeks. I know some people have hated The Big Bang Theory since the beginning. But I like the show because when Sheldon and Penny are in the same room, it’s funny. I can’t love it because Howard always drives me nuts but it’s mostly fun. Until this season, where my son made the above pronouncement and he’s absolutely right. It’s not good when the highlight of your season is Bob Newhart guest-starring and showing exactly how this sitcom stuff should be done.

My eldest son’s complaint was about a BBT episode that mentioned a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode where demon cheerleaders took over. As he pointed out, there’s no such Buffy episode. There’s the one with the crazy cheerleader being controlled by her witch mother, and there’s the one where students turn into animals and eat the principal, and the one where the swim team is turning into monsters too but not one exactly like the episode mentioned on the show.

While he was stuck on that, my biggest problem was the comic book episode, where the female cast acted as if they’d never seen comics before. Penny’s been in the comic store many times and yet she was written as never having seen one before. But not only did Penny seem ignorant but the entire store clientele seemed like they’d never seen a girl at all, which seemed odd given Penny’s continued presence at the place.

As my son said, it’s like it used to be a show for geeks and nerds and now it’s written by someone who doesn’t know anything about them. It’s sad when the most fun I had watching this year was the flash mob video posted above.

Geek Kid Squee of the Week

I received a download code of the upcoming Animal Crossing:New Leaf for the 3DS.

My daughter downloaded it then promptly vanished for a couple of hours. A formal review is coming soon but I can say if your kids loved the earlier games, they will love this one too. Here’s a look at the official trailer:

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.